Friday, March 23, 2018

How quantum computing will affect global finance

John Sarrao, LANL photo.

“We’re seeing the convergence of better algorithmic efficiency on one hand, and better qubits on the other”, says John Sarrao, associate director for theory, simulation and computation at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Whatever the future of quantum computers may be, the power of change will not only be derived from the hardware itself, but also from the algorithms that can be executed. While there are huge opportunities to utilise these algorithms for functions similar to those executed in the present day IT landscape, there are also great opportunities to develop a new breed of algorithms for completely new use cases. (Full Story)

Black hole pretenders could really be bizarre quantum stars

Gravastar, NASA illustration.

New research from theoretical physicist Raúl Carballo-Rubio at the International School for Advanced Studies in Italy provides a novel mechanism that might allow black stars and gravastars to exist.

“This work is interesting and worthwhile, showing that new kinds of solutions can exist to Einstein's equations which are not black holes,” says research physicist Emil Mottola at Los Alamos National Laboratory, who was not involved in the study. (Full Story)


Tracking seasonal sea ice in real time

Sea ice is seen from NASA's Operation IceBridge.

In the 1990s, Elizabeth Hunke, a developer at the Department of Energy's Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, created the model we use today to predict sea ice patterns in the Far North. Scientists input information on wind direction, ocean currents, air temperature, solar radiation, humidity, and sea surface temperature, and then see what the model churns out.

"Typically, we run it alongside an atmospheric model or with an ocean model," Hunke said. Primarily, the model predicts the melting and growing of the sea ice, and the motion of the sea ice—how wind and ocean currents are pushing the ice around. (Full Story)

A slow neutron beats a flipping fast bit

The article’s authors Suzanne Nowicki and Nathan DeBardeleben, LANL photo.

Once every minute and for no good reason, a bit flips in a supercomputer at Los Alamos National Laboratory, causing an error. All of a sudden, say, 1 + 1 = 3.


Bits are the basic currency of all digital information. They come in two flavors, zeroes and ones. As a computer does its work, bits are called from disk storage, zip through processors and park temporarily in memory. When a bit randomly jumps from 0 to 1, it might alter a calculation or hide a piece of information. Computer engineers call it a single-event upset or a fault. (Full Story)

‘Lighthouse’ detectors minimize exposure to dangerous radiation

A small, fast and accurate radiation detector, LANL photo.

Innovative “lighthouse” detectors that use a sweeping beam to pinpoint a radiation source in seconds are reducing  exposure for workers and opening up new areas for robotic monitoring to avoid potential hazards.

“It’s easier to find a needle in a haystack if the haystack is small,” said detector inventor Jonathan Dowell, a Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist. (Full Story)

Los Alamos National Laboratory releases file index product to software community

Trinity Supercomputer, LANL image.

Resolving the supercomputer challenge of searching and retrieving files could now be far simpler, with a tool developed by Los Alamos National Laboratory and released today to the GitHub open-source software site.

The Grand Unified File Index (GUFI) is designed using a new, hierarchical approach to storing file metadata, allowing rapid  parallel searches across many internal databases. Queries that would previously have taken hours or days can now be run in seconds. (Full Story)

Three more stories from the Post this week:

BSMA thanks Los Alamos National Laboratory and community for supporting STEM education

Director Terry Wallace buys 75th anniversary Memorabilia at the Bradbury Science Museum.

The Bradbury Science Museum Association (BSMA) wishes to thank Los Alamos National Laboratory and the community for supporting STEM education outreach efforts in northern New Mexico.

The (BSMA) and the Laboratory hosted a 75th Anniversary merchandise launch Tuesday at the Bradbury Science Museum with all proceeds benefiting STEM education outreach.

“The response was overwhelming!” Shari Foley, BSMA Gadgets Gift Shop manager, said. “We are so please with the response to the 75th Anniversary products. We’ve sold out and have more on the way.” (Full Story)

LANL Archives Preserve History

Alan Carr, Christopher C’de Baca and County Council Chair David Izraelevitz during a recent meeting at the Los Alamos Daily Post.

A treasure trove of historical documents and data is preserved in the Archives at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Deputy Group Leader for the Records Management Group Christopher C’de Baca and LANL Historian Alan Carr recently visited the Los Alamos Daily Post to share some of that history. They brought along several spy related items including the original personnel questionnaires of two of the four spies associated with the Lab.

“In the archives we have about 12,000 cubic feet of records,” C’de Baca said, adding that the archive facility occupies a space about the size of a basketball court. (Full Story)

Lab Profile: Jim Stein lives life to the fullest, camera in hand

Jim Stein has a passion for photography.
As a child, Jim Stein, of Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Quality & Performance Assurance Division, loved poring over the awe-inspiring photos of National Geographic magazine. With a small camera his parents bought for him, his passion for photography was ignited.

“I started playing around with the camera like I was a Nat Geo photographer,” he said. “And although I really was pretty awful, I’ve been hooked ever since.” (Full Story)

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